Oklahoma Sexual Harassment Law
Your workplace is somewhere that you should be able to put in time and effort to excel and to find success. But if someone is creating a hostile work environment for you through sexual harassment, then it is nearly impossible to do either. Most people who are the victims of sexual harassment choose to look the other way and endure it out of fear of retaliation, but they don’t have to. There are many resources available in Oklahoma at both the state and federal levels to force your harasser to stop.
The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits both private and public employers from discriminating against any individual based on their sex. The Act also encompasses subcontractors, contractors, or anyone who provides goods and services. It is explicitly prohibited for anyone to sexually harass another person in the workplace. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also makes sexual harassment in the workplace illegal.
What constitutes being sexually harassed?
There are a variety of behaviors that can be considered sexual harassment. It’s not just about one single incident; in most instances, sexual harassment is a pervasive and systematic way that someone threatens and intimidates another employee to the extent that they create a hostile work environment. The behavior is so offensive that it hinders a person from performing in their work capacity.
Some examples of sexual harassment can include sexual innuendos, unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate touching, lewd comments or sounds, derogatory jokes, or sexually explicit material. The repetition of the behavior creates an uncomfortable atmosphere and disrupts productivity.
It might be the case that just one single incident can constitute sexual harassment. If someone who holds power or authority over your position within a company makes a request for a sexual act or favor and makes it clear that your position is reliant upon compliance with the sexual request, then that constitutes “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. Likewise, if your employer or supervisor offers you a perk or a promotion based upon your acquiescing to their sexual request, that can also be considered quid pro quo harassment.
How to get the sexual harassment to stop
If someone is sexually harassing you, then there are ways to stop it. The first step that you will have to take is to make both the harasser and your employer aware that the harassment is happening and demand that it stop. If you are fearful of retaliation, you might want to hire an Oklahoma sexual harassment lawyer to protect your position. They can also help you to file a claim through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the case should not be resolved and your employer refuses to take action, you will need to prove that you filed a claim to make them aware that the abuse was happening.
Your place of employment should have specific procedures that need to be followed when someone makes a claim for sexual harassment. It is imperative that you follow the steps as outlined, especially so that if you have to take the case to court, you have left a paper trail for your Oklahoma sexual harassment attorney to plead your case.
What if the harassment doesn’t stop?
If you have gone through the proper channels and the harassment does not stop, then you can hold your employer liable in a court of law. If you can prove that you not only made your employer aware that the abuse was happening and that they did nothing to stop it, and that you incurred damages as a result, then you can sue your employer for any damages that you suffered.
The types of damages you are entitled to in a sexual harassment case are compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are to compensate you for what you lost both financially and emotionally, so you can sue for things like emotional distress as well as lost wages. If the case is egregious enough, you are entitled to punitive damages as well.
To ensure that you are both taking the steps necessary to make the harassment stop and to hold your employer liable if it doesn’t, it is best to consult USAttorneys.com today; they can connect you with an experienced Oklahoma sexual harassment attorney who can guide you through the process of holding your harasser responsible. They can help get the behavior addressed so you can get back to work in a safe environment.